April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Exploring the power of the print as a vehicle for political and social commentary, the Mead Art Museum will present “The Print, the Pear and the Prostitute: Art, Politics and Society in 19th-Century France,” from Wednesday, May 17, through Sunday, Aug. 20. Amherst College students Joanne Love ’08 and Joanna Merrill ’06, the co-curators of the show, will give gallery talks at the opening reception at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, in the museum. Merrill will speak again on aspects of the exhibition at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, and during the Amherst College Reunion Weekend at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 2. The opening reception is free and open to the public, and all are welcome to attend the gallery talks.

Drawn largely from the Mead collection of French prints and caricatures of the 19th century, the exhibition of 60 works showcases selections from the recent gifts of Boris B. Baranovic (Amherst College ’58) of more than 150 lithographs by Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808 – 1879), the most celebrated French caricaturist. Thematically, it ranges from satirical representations of King Louis-Philippe, depicted as the fat-headed pear, to images of the various types of women who defined 19th-century Parisian society. In addition to Daumier, the exhibition includes works by Degas, Gavarni, Manet and other French artists of the 19th century.

This exhibition is the culmination of the interdisciplinary course European Studies 41, The Print, the Pear and the Prostitute: Art, Politics and Society in 19th-Century France, taught by Carol Solomon Kiefer, curator of European art. Joanne Love, a rising junior, is a French and fine arts major from Los Angeles who will be spending the coming academic year studying in Paris. Senior Joanna Merrill, from New York City, will graduate in May with a major in history.

Until June 4, the Mead is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. June 6 to Sept. 3, the Mead is open from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Additional information is available on the museum’s Website at www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335. Admission and all events are free and open to the public.